Skip to main content

2019-2020 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

Search Help

Doctor of Nursing Practice - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Kirkhof College of Nursing section in this catalog.


The changing demands of this nation's complex health care environment require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practical experience to assure high-quality patient outcomes. The Kirkhof College of Nursing offers programs of graduate study leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree. The D.N.P. programs prepare nurse leaders who will contribute to the nursing profession and improve the health of society with an emphasis on advanced practice nursing (APN) clinical primary care or health systems leadership (HSL).

KCON D.N.P. graduates are prepared to

  • provide advanced and complex nursing care within their chosen area of specialization in nursing that is scientific- and evidence-based and incorporates the science of nursing and other disciplines to optimize the functioning of individuals, families, and communities;
  • use organizational and systems leadership, information technology, interprofessional collaboration, and policy advocacy to improve and transform health care; and
  • contribute to the practice of nursing through clinical scholarship for evidence-based practice and active leadership in local and national professional groups.

Prior to beginning KCON clinical courses, students must complete comprehensive health compliance requirements including, but not limited to, a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and drug screening. Failure to complete these requirements could negatively impact a student's ability to successfully complete the clinical placement components of the program that are required for graduation. Clinical sites can refuse to accept students who have not successfully completed all of the above requirements.

Admission to Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The D.N.P. program is designed for nurses that hold either a B.S.N. or M.S.N. All applicants must have earned their degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA). Applicants who have not completed a B.S.N. must do so before enrolling.

  1. Complete the GVSU graduate application available at specifying the D.N.P. option
  2. Select one of three program emphases: child/adolescent primary care nurse practitioner, adult/older adult primary care nurse practitioner, or health systems leadership
  3. Submit transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework outside of GVSU
  4. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  5. Submit a written goal statement describing professional and educational goals
  6. Submit a current curriculum vitae/resume
  7. Submit a scholarly writing exercise, using the guidelines in the online application
  8. Participate in a qualifying interview with KCON faculty
  9. International student applicants must meet TOEFL requirements for GVSU

Additionally, full admission is contingent on successful completion of the following:

  1. Current licensure to practice as a registered nurse in Michigan
  2. A required criminal background check and drug screen
  3. Health record documentation and immunization requirements

New D.N.P. program cohorts begin each fall semester. The application and supplemental materials must be received by February 1 of the calendar year in which the student desires entry. Applications received after February 1 will be considered based upon program capacity.

Advanced Practice Certification

Post-B.S.N. students pursuing an advanced practice primary care emphasis must complete the didactic and clinical courses in a selected population (child/adolescent or adult/older adult) which will qualify them to sit for national primary care specialty certification (pediatrics or adult gerontology). Post-M.S.N. students who do not hold a current national primary care advanced practice certification in a clinical specialty must complete the didactic and clinical courses that will qualify them to sit for national primary care specialty certification in a selected population (pediatrics, adult health, or gerontology).

Nurse Executive Certification

Students completing the health systems leadership track will be qualified for and encouraged to sit for national certification as a nurse executive.

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.